Anti-Immigrant Groups Attempt To Bring ISIS Into The Immigration Debate

  • September 12, 2014



In response to the atrocities committed in the Middle East by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a terrorist group, American anti-immigrant groups are attempting to exploit the public’s legitimate concerns about ISIS by warning that the group plans to enter the United States via Mexico.

In a blog posted on September 8, a fellow for the anti-immigrant think tank Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) argued that Senator John McCain’s support of the Senate’s immigration reform bill S-744 in 2013, “has provided ISIS with unfettered access to the United States for both its personnel and their weapons of death and destruction.” The blog concluded with the statement, “Should ISIS or some other terrorist group take advantage of McCain's welcome mat, he will only have himself to blame as he goes in the eyes of many from war hero to collaborator.”

The anti-immigrant grassroots organization NumbersUSA and the California-based Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) both sent fundraising emails to activists in recent weeks linking ISIS to President Obama’s rumored announcement of some form of executive relief for undocumented immigrants. NumbersUSA claimed ISIS, “is certainly encouraged by the weak U.S. government response to the border surge this summer…” A number of state-based anti-immigrant groups also warned of the threat of ISIS terrorists entering the U.S. via Mexico. Many of the groups cite a report from the conspiracy-orientated “watchdog” group Judicial Watch. Judicial Watch is closely aligned with the anti-immigrant movement.

Some anti-immigrant groups are also responding to the media spotlight on ISIS by espousing anti-Muslim rhetoric. In a Facebook post on September 9, the Tea Party Immigration Coalition headed by racist Rick Oltman asserted, “We must rethink the 1st amendment as it applies to Islam. Islam is NOT a religion; rather, it is a supranational organization hell bent on world domination and killing anyone, anywhere and at any time to do so.”

The anti-immigrant movement often attempts to tie together the issues of immigration and terrorism. This was the case even before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Since 9-11, the movement has concentrated on linking terrorism and immigration under the guise of national security. This is a key argument for the movement in opposition to any form of immigration reform.